|Victorian troops marching to departure ships at Port Melbourne. The HMAT Orvieto is at left, the flagship of the convoy. October 1914. AWM image|
As part of its program of activities for the coming Centenary of Anzac in 2015, the Victorian Government has released the Embarkation List for this vessel and is encouraging the public to visit the website as a way for Victorians to connect with their Anzac ancestors in advance of the Centenary. The List also contains information from the Service Records of the Anzacs. This resource has been prepared with the assistance of Monash University.The List is published on a new website detailing important Centenary activities and resources.
As the Minister for Veterans Affairs, Hugh Delahunty MP, said at the launch of the Embarkation List and website:
"The men and women who boarded the Orvieto that day were ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. Victorians enlisted from both small towns and large. From all walks of life, professionals, tradesmen, labourers and farmers, married and single - they answered the call of duty."
This is a great opportunity for Victorians to get personally connected to the Centenary and to add to the personal stories of the Anzacs who served at Gallipoli and beyond.
Lemnos was a key and vital element in the Gallipoli campaign which touched the lives of all who fought and served there. The Embarkation List of the HMAT Orvieto is another demonstration of the link between Lemnos, Gallipoli and the Anzacs. For amongst the 1,500 aboard the ship were three who would die during the Gallipoli campaign and remain on Lemnos, in its Commonwealth War Graves.
Here are brief stories of these three Victorian Anzacs:
Second Lieutenant Alfred Charles Harrop Jackson (6th Battalion). Alfred's AIF Service Records reveal that he was born in Hawthorn, the son of Annie Jackson of 8 Highfield Grove Kew. A clerk by occupation, he enlisted into the 5th Battalion on 2 September 1914. He had served 3 years with the cadets and was promoted to Lance Corporal and transferred to the 6th Battalion prior to his departure from Australian aboard the HMAT Orvieto on the 21st October 1914. He was promoted to Corporal and then Second Lieutenant in the field at Anzac in May 1915. He was seriously wounded in the final stages of the attack on German Officers Communication Trench on 7th August 1915, part of the ill-fated Allied August Offensive. The attack failed and cost dearly in casualties. Alfred's Battalion lost 6 officers and 140 other ranks in a single nights fighting. Alfred's part in the final assualt was noted by the Official Australian Historian, C.E.W. Bean. He wrote:
“Another leader, Lieutenant Jackson, stood outside the trench and, walking up and down, beckoned to the men to come forward with him. He was hit first by a bullet and then by a bomb, and was carried back into the trenches, but died a few days later."
Alfred was admitted to the 1st Australian Stationary Hospital "dangerously ill" on the 9th August and died the same day. He was aged 27. He was awarded the 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. He is buried in East Mudros Military Cemetery, Plot II, Row D, Grave 53.
|East Mudros Military Cemetery. Lemnos. Photograph Jim Claven 2012|
|Letter to Private Francis Carter's mother informing her of his death. February 1916. NAA.|
|Private Francis Thomas Carter's grave, Portianou Military Cemetery. Photograph Jim Claven 2013|
Private Roy Clifford Woolcock (5th Battalion). Roy's AIF Service Records reveal that he was born in country Victoria at Trentham. He was a 21 year old engine cleaner when he enlisted at Albert Park on 19th August 1914. He was recruited into the C Company, 5th Battalion. He became ill with influenza and was transferred to Lemnos. He was admitted to the 2nd Australian Stationary Hospital on 22nd September and then 3rd Australian General Hospital on 28th September the Turks Head Peninsula, West Mudros, Lemnos. He was reported "dangerously ill" on 14th November 1915 and he died of enteric fever seven days later, on the 21st November. He was only 22 years old. He was awarded the 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. He is buried in Portianou Military Cemetery, Lemnos, Plot V, Row A, 74.
|Private Roy Clifford Woolcock's grave, Portianou Military Cemetery. Photograph Jim Claven 2013|
Thanks to Monash University and the Victorian Government for this important initiative. Here are some links to the Centenary Website, Embarkation List and associated media:
The Victorian Government Press Release is at the weblink below:
Victorian Families to renew connections to their Anzac Ancestors - Media Release
Below is the weblink to the HMAT Orvieto embarkation list:
HMAT Orvieto Embarkation List
Below is the Victorian Government's Centenary Website link:
Anzac Centenary 2014-18 - Sharing Victoria's Stories
Herald Sun Article on the HMAT Orvieto:
Heroes of the HMAT Orvieto - Herald Sun 21 October 2013